CHANGING STATION OF THE INTER-
The position of the changing station necessitated tated by the break of gauge between our railway system and that of New South Wales is deserving of more consideration than it has received. As the station is not yet built, and the section on the New South Wales side has only recently been commenced, it is not yet too late to reconsider a matter so greatly affecting the commercial and shipping interests of the port of Brisbane.
It would appear that undue importance has attached to the line that forms the territorial division of the sister colonies. It certainly is a striking feature on our maps, and has been marked on the ground, but the people cross and recross with light hearts, hardly realising that one side of a bleak and wholly dismal watershed is Queonsland, whilst the other is
New South Wales.
Even the railway surveyors appear to have had some dim consciousness of the eternal fitness of things, and have ran their lines as though Tenterfield were on the Darling Downs and Stanthorpe the capital of New England. This ia not good geography, but there is no sufficient reason to the contrary to be deduced from a careful study of the map.
Taking Newcastle and Brisbane as the present deep water termini of the intercolonial railway, the territory is equally divided by a line starting from the coast, midway between the Macleay River and Grafton, thence running south of Glen Innes, Inverell, and Moree, until it strikes the boundary at the intersection therewith of the Culgoa River.
This line not only divides the territory equally, but strangely enough also cuts the railway in a similar manner, so that it is apparent our neighbours have not secured any engineering advantages over us in surmounting their portion of the Main Range. This point of equal railway haulage is seventy miles south of Tenterfield, or, in other words, Tenterfield is nearer Brisbane than Newcastle by 140 railway
The absence of any port worthy of the name along the 400 miles of seaboard north of Newcastle lends additional value to the facts adduced, and as Sir Patrick Jennings is disposed to reconsider the position of the changing station, an opportunity is afforded to rectify as far as is now possible, and in a practical manner, the grave mistake that was made twenty-seven years ago in the delimitation of our southern boundary.
What advantage to us will accrue from the existing arrangement it is difficult to conceive, unless it be to afford our engineers an opportunity for useless display, and to erect, in an expensive station, a monument to their want of foresight and to that all-pervading spirit of Bumbledom which, unfortunately for the colony, is as rampant in the Railway as in other departments of the civil service.
Some land has been sold, and less than £4000 realised, but there is not the least prospect of a thriving township springing up on the border. A few officials may find employment and a shabby looking hotel or two but that will be all. Nothing can or will be produced in the neighbourhood, whilst the stream of goods traffic that we might reasonably expect were the gauge broken at Tenterfield, will certainly
be diverted southward under the existing arrangement. The majority of travellers also
would naturally prefer to break the journey and the gauge at the same time, but few would care to spend a winter's night on the dismal and wind-driven summit of the border range.
We commend this matter to the consideration of the Government, as taken in connection
with the proposed direct line to Warwick, it should form an important feature in their railway policy.
The Commissioner for Railways, accompanied by theo Acting Chief Engineer, made a visit of inspection over the Brisbane Valley line on Saturday last, as stated by our Ipswich correspondent. The station sites and railway works were inspected, and matters were
found to be progressing satisfactorily, although scarcely in such a forward state as could be
wished. The contractors, notwithstanding this, are confident of being able to complete
the line in time to be opened for traffic on the 1st June.